The state of our union is not what we’d like. There’s growing division. The dawn’s early light has morphed into darkness and shrouded our hope that unity can be restored.
A Congress divided. A White House beet-red from classified docs Biden wants put to bed. And fears of recession that won’t go away just add to our growing despair.
There’re protests in cities. Things aren’t black and white when it comes to policing and criminals’ rights. The blindfold of Justice needs to be retied while those who are guilty are judged.
The Church is in conflict over what Scripture means. Are it’s teachings still timeless or what culture deems? Should preachers be silenced from speaking their minds? Has tolerance trumped what was truth?
Yes, the state of our union is fragile at best. There’s constant division and brewing unrest. We need a revival of psyche and soul. May God bless our nation again!
May Your prophets find the courage to heed Your call as they strive to climb a mountain burdened for all. Help them dream a King-size vision of a land without division focused on a holy mission where tyrants fall.
May Your prophets speak out boldly hearing Your voice. Help them stand up for those victims denied a choice. Much like Moses and like Martin, use Your prophets as they pardon those enslaved and thus disheartened so they’ll rejoice.
May Your prophets stand on prophets’ shoulders of old, high above reproach or scandal grasping for gold. Help them to make plain Your passion even when it seems old-fashioned for the poor who have no stanchion out in the cold.
*This hymn text can be sung to the tune Ar Hyd Y Nos (All Through the Night)
I’ve had a fascination with typewriters since I was three years old. I used to sit at my pastor-father’s manual Royal and pretend I was writing a sermon.
When I was in 8th grade, I audited a beginning typing class at the local community college. It was then I learned about the eight keys on the standard keyboard known as the “home row.”
In case you’ve forgotten, the home row of keys is comprised of ASDFJKL and the semi-colon. They are the resting position for your two hands. They’re like middle C on a piano. The home row serves as a foundation. They provide a perspective for your fingers as you type without having to look at the keyboard. Once your left hand and your right hand are oriented, you have a sense of security of where you are and where you’re headed.
With that orientation in mind, I’d like to consider those eight keys on this Independence Day weekend. Each of those letters stands for something foundational to our identity as a nation. They underscore what sets us apart. These qualities are the home row of our freedom.
A stands for allegiance. Whenever we say “the pledge,” we vow our allegiance to more than the flag. We promise loyalty to the republic for which it stands. As we watch the Ukrainians resisting the Russians to remain independent, we see allegiance modeled courageously. What we see inspires us to a greater patriotism.
S calls to mind stewardship. When we sing America the Beautiful we are reminded of what lies beneath our spacious skies from sea to shining sea. The beauty of our country is ours to maintain and keep beautiful. We are the stewards. We are the caretakers entrusted to guarantee a litter-free, carbon-free future for our descendants.
D is for democracy. My Greek ancestors introduced the concept to our planet 2500 years ago. For the last 246 years we have carried forth the concept of self-rule. A government of the people, for the people and by the people is what makes our home sweet home as sweet as it is.
F stands for faith. Although we are a nation that insists on an appropriate border between church and state, we have always been a nation that has recognized a higher power and humbled ourselves with gratitude for the undeserved blessings of the Almighty. The fabric of our union frays to the degree we disregard God’s presence and sovereignty.
J is for justice. In spite of what we promise when we place our hand over our heart and pledge allegiance to Old Glory, we have failed miserably to insure justice for all. Nonetheless, the pursuit of justice remains at the core of our corporate conscience. Equal treatment under the law is the homefield advantage our constitution guarantees.
K calls to mind kinship. America has always been a family of people made up of individual families. We’ve been called a melting pot and an ethnic gumbo. We are a quilt of diverse cultures stitched together by the thread of a common dream. But that common dream does not denigrate our unique backgrounds. Rather, it celebrates them. Kinship is at our core.
L stand for Liberty. The gigantic statue in New York Harbor and the cracked bell in the City of Brotherly Love will never let us forget that liberty is at the heart of our identity as a free people. We fight wars on our own behalf and on behalf of others to protect the right to vote, the right to worship, the right to protest and the right to succeed.
; The semi-colon reminds us of the fact that our story as a nation is still being written. According to Thomas Jefferson, the American experience is an experiment still being tested. Each Independence Day is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the kind of country we desire to be as we keep our fingers on the home row.
Your Majesty, your Jubilee now calls to mind your reign that’s showered countless Brits with more than tea. Your subjects curtsy and they bow with homage in their hearts. You represent their love of royalty.
“God, Save the Queen” they proudly sing as palace guards stand tall. The lyrics of this anthem voice their prayer, that God would guide your every step and give to you long life, that you might sense God’s presence everywhere.
Elizabeth, the world-at-large now celebrates your rule. Beyond your realm we recognize your face. We are not blind to griefs you’ve known or critics of The Crown. But through it all, we marvel at your grace.
Your Majesty, we mark your reign (three-score-and-ten grand years) as flags fly high and banners are unfurled. Your Jubilee provides a peek at that for which we long… real peace and oneness in our war-torn world.